List of politically motivated renamings

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An early political cartoon lampooning the name change of hamburger meat during World War I.



  • Australia: During World War I, jam-filled buns previously known as Berliners were renamed Kitchener buns, and a sausage product previously known as "Fritz" was renamed "Devon" (or "luncheon meat").[citation needed]
  • New Zealand: In 1998, while the French government was testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific, French loaves were renamed Kiwi loaves in a number of supermarkets and bakeries. This, however, does not appear to have been as extensively reported or publicized as anti-French sentiment in the United States. However, French Fries at a few family restaurants were renamed Kiwi fries, or just "Fries", which was already an established term. New Zealanders, however, generally use the British English word "chips".[citation needed]


  • France: During the French Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety went so far as to banish all words associated with royalty. A major example of their work was taking Kings and Queens out of playing cards and replacing them with Committee members. It lasted less than a year. It is commonly believed that this was also the time when Aces earnt their status as being both the highest card and the lowest card.[4]
  • France: During World War I, coffee with whipped cream, previously known as Café Viennois (Vienna coffee), was renamed Café Liégeois (Coffee from Liège) due to the state of war with Austria-Hungary. This appellation is still in use today, mainly for ice-creams (chocolat liégeois and café liegeois).[citation needed]
  • Russia: During World War I, Saint Petersburg was renamed 'Petrograd', amounting effectively to a translation of the name from German to Russian.

North America[edit]


During World War I, the Ontario city of Berlin was renamed Kitchener.[7]

Native Canadians[edit]

Canadian Aboriginals have historically been referred to by different terms, including Canadian Indians, or Native Canadians. Since the 1980s, they have also been referred to as First Nations, or First Peoples.[8]

Swastika, Ontario[edit]

During World War II, the Government of Ontario unsuccessfully attempted to change the name of Swastika, Ontario, to Winston, Ontario, to disassociate the relation with Nazism. Locals claimed to have named their community before the Nazis named the Swastika symbol.

United States[edit]

Wartime changes[edit]

During World War I, the German Spitz was renamed the American Eskimo Dog, and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, freedom fries was a short-lived political euphemism for French fries, used by some to express their disapproval of the French opposition to the invasion.[9]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Some ethnic groups in the US have been periodically renamed - principally Native Americans and Black Americans.

Native Americans

Native Americans have been referred to as American Indians,[10][11] Indigenous, and Amerind.[12]

Alaska Natives have been referred to as Eskimos, and now prefer the individual names of their ethnic groups, such as Yupik or Iñupiat (Inuit).[13]

Black Americans

For Black Americans, the term "colored" was widely used until the second quarter of the 20th century. During the 1920s and 1930s, colored was considered outmoded and generally gave way to the use of negro. By the 1940s, the term commonly was capitalized, Negro.[14][15]

By the mid-1960s, Negro was considered disparaging.[16][17] During the late 1960s to the early 1970s, some people favoured usage of the term "Afro-American".

During the 1980s, the term African American was popularized in black communities around the country via word of mouth. It ultimately received mainstream use after Jesse Jackson publicly used the term in front of a national audience. Subsequently, major media outlets adopted its use.[18]

Surveys show that the majority of Black Americans have no preference for "African American" or "Black,"[19] although they have a slight preference for "Black" in personal settings and "African American" in more formal settings.[20]


  1. ^ "Iranians rename Danish pastries". BBC. 2006-02-17. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  2. ^ "Iran targets Danish pastries". Associated Press. Al Jazeera. 2006-03-02. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  3. ^ "Cyprus villagers make giant sweet". BBC News. 2004-10-18. 
  4. ^ Hérault, Irish (2010-01-31). "French playing cards and card stuff". Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  5. ^ Turkish coffee#Greece
  6. ^ Robert Browning, Medieval and Modern Greek, 1983. ISBN 0-521-29978-0. p. 16
  7. ^ "Name - If some things never change, when did they begin?". Library and Archives Canada. 2004-02-04. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  8. ^ Gibson, Gordon (2009). A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy: Respect the Collective – Promote the Individual. ISBN 978-0-88975-243-6. 
  9. ^ "Over Here: World War I on the Home Front". Digital History. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  10. ^ Dennis Gaffney (2006). ""American Indian" or "Native American": Which Is Correct?". PBS. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  11. ^ "Indian Eristic". Wisconsin Office of State Employment Relations. January 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  12. ^ url= in dispute|date=October 22, 1902|publisher=The New York Times|accessdate=2009-01-14 | format=PDF
  13. ^ Kaplan, Lawrence. "Inuit or Eskimo: Which name to use?" Alaskan Native Language Center, UFA. Accessed 5 Feb 2014.
  14. ^ Tottie, Gunnel (2002). An Introduction to American English. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 200. ISBN 0-631-19792-3. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Talmadge; James Stewart (2007). Introduction to African American Studies. Baltimore: Black Classics Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-58073-039-6. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  16. ^ Tottie, Gunnel (2002). An Introduction to American English. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 200. ISBN 0-631-19792-3. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  17. ^ Anderson, Talmadge; James Stewart (2007). Introduction to African American Studies. Baltimore: Black Classics Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-58073-039-6. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  18. ^ From African American: Baugh, John (1999). Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice. University of Texas Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-292-70873-0. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  19. ^ Newport, Frank (September 28, 2007). "Black or African American?". Gallup. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  20. ^ Miller, Pepper; Kemp, Herb (2006). What's Black About? Insights to Increase Your Share of a Changing African-American Market. Paramount Market Publishing, Inc. p. 8. ISBN 0-9725290-9-8. OCLC 61694280.